Red : The other color of terror

5 11 2008

Source: mutiny

The news that the convoy of Buddhadev Bhattacharya, the West Bengal chief minister escaped being mined and that naxalites are the ones being accused, will draw attention to Left wing terrorism once again. Although left wing terrorism and insurgency affects large pieces of the country, it has never had the kind of visibility that it needs to have, mostly because their terror is wielded largely in rural India where television cameras don’t whir.

This violence of course shows the level of fragmentation in the leftist movement within india over the decades and the “establishment” left – those who get to speak in parliament or the state assembly and become ministers and the others. The establishment leftists ride those white ambassadors, go to television studios and give press conferences and in states like West Bengal and Kerala, run industrial establishments that can give any traditional capitalist a run for their money.

The contradictions that are becoming evident between the ultra left and the left (ironically there was a time when the CPI (M) itself was considered ultra left!) will add another twist to the convoluted history of the communist movement of India. The Communist Party in India was founded in Kanpur on December 25, 1925 in the midst of an anti-colonial struggle which attempted changed India’s political landscape in a fundamental way. It placed on the agenda the creation of a state power of workers and peasants by workers and peasants to end all forms of oppression and exploitation.

The policies of the Communist Party of India, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the Communist Part of India (Maoist) and most other fragments of the communist movement that began 80 years ago is today a far cry from the revolutionary rhetoric posted in their web sites. The largest communist groups today are fine tuning their political positions to come to power just like any other bourgeoisie party that they supposedly have contempt for. The many fragments of the underground communists – supposedly allied to Maoist ideologies of various shades have only one thing in common – their penchant for violence.

Left wing violence( not calling it terrorism) is probably the oldest form of organized ideology terrorism that exists in India with its roots in the pre independence and immediate post independence era when BT Ranadive had launched an armed struggle in Telengana in the period around 1948-50. This was subsequently called off and Ranadive accused of “adventurism” but subsequently rehabilitated.

The next major bout of violence is now the subject of folklore and inserted the word”Naxalite” in the Indian political lexicon. It also was the first instance when insurgency and terror was successfully tackled by equally tough counter insurgency measures and state repression. State repression thought not new by this time – (it was always in use in the troubled North East), had matured enough.

Yet Naxalites were never completely wiped out, not quite. The Naxalite terror now extends to a dozen States, affecting 509 police stations. For the first time naxal activity has been recorded in two police stations in Haryana. The menace has spread to nearly 40 per cent of the country’s geographical area with the affected population going up to 35 per cent. Areas in many States, which looked too obscure to fall for naxal influence, are today witnessing naxal activity.

Although the cousins of the Naxalites in Nepal, the Maoists have been won over to the ballot, the Indian Maoists have so far resisted this – partly because they see the example of the main line communists which did join parliamentary politics and what they see of left front politics is not too inspiring or different from the bourgeoisie parties which they had sought to uproot.

Further more the government’s own response of treating this only as a law and order problem hasn’t helped very much, as it only made the Naxalites dig in their heels deeper and go further underground. One does not know where the left wing insurgents would be placed in the spectrum between cultural nationalists and plain terrorists given that this classification is religion based and the Naxalites are of course atheistic in their ideology. However, whatever it may be, given that this has been around much longer than most other forms of terror and insurgency, it wont get lost in the current melee where we seem to have time for only right wing terrorism and nothing else.

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Who killed Swami Lakshmanananda?

29 08 2008

August 28, 2008 17:38 IST
source: Rediff.com

Who killed Swami Lakshmanananda?

Not the Maoists, everyone except some senior state government authorities maintain.

Even the top brass of the state police say it is improbable that Maoists were responsible for the murder of the Swami and four others at his remote ashram in Orissa’s Kandhamal district on Saturday night. A senior state police officer said the modus operandi of the murders do not provide substantial evidence that the Maoists may be involved.

Here are the facts of the murder after preliminary investigations:

  • On Saturday, the ashram was celebrating Janmashtami, when around dinner time, a group of 30-40 armed assailants surrounded the place.
  • Eyewitnesses said about four of the assailants carried AK-47s and many others had country made revolvers.
  • Two of the four home guards stationed for security had gone to eat and only two of them were guarding the premises.
  • The assailants tied down the two guards, and gagged them.
  • They then sought out the Swamiji within the premises and opened fire on him.
  • The recovered bullets show they were from an AK-47, the police said.
  • The assailants then warned the guards not to raise an alarm and fled the scene.

Within minutes of the reaching the crime scene, the district authorities made a statement saying it was suspected Maoists who killed the Swami.

“Isn’t it far fetched? District authorities blaming a particular outfit within minutes of arriving at a crime scene?” asked Ashok Sahu, a retired IPS officer, who specialises in left wing extremism.

There are two reasons given as to why the state could have taken the Maoist line. The first is obvious, observers say.

“In December 2007, the area witnesses some of the bloodiest violence Orissa has even seen after the Swami was attacked by Christians. The state might have wanted to avert a repeat of the communal clashes and therefore could have pinned the blame on the Maoists,” one of them said.

Sahu said there could be more to the government’s action than this.

“Elections are coming in a matter of months. The state has failed miserably in tackling the Maoist insurgency. A government that has been terrorised by the Maoists may in turn be trying to terrorise the people in the name of the Maoists” he said.

Why are so many people ready to debunk the government’s Maoist attack theory so readily? The main reason is modus operandi of the execution.

“The central committee authorises the killings and the outfit issues statements owning up to the murders they commit. So many days after the murder, there has been no statement from the Maoists,” a senior police officer said.

Sahu points out the following: “The five attackers who the locals caught and handed over to the police are not Maoists. They are from the region.

“Moreover, I see no reason why the Maoists will spare the policemen on duty. They would have killed them. Then, there are the leaflets that were thrown around the ashram in a very amateurish way. The Maoists are very organised. If somebody is carrying an AK-47 he must be at least a commander. And if there are four commanders to marshal the mob, there wouldn’t have been indiscriminate firing like what we saw. And last but not the least, I have never heard or seen Maoists wear masks and hoods.

“They see themselves as revolutionaries. They never care about whether they are seen or not. In fact, I would say, they would very much want to be seen,” Sahu said.

Then, the most important question? Did the Swami’s activities in the jungle in any way make him an enemy of the Maoists? “Chances are very less. He was working for the welfare of the tribal people and against forced conversions in the region. There is nothing that suggests the Maoists would see him as a class enemy,” a senior officer said.

A local outfit, the Hindu Jagran Manch said the Swami had mentioned to an office bearer that some Maoists had joined him in a program he had organsied for the tribal people. “One day last year, I was talking to the Swami on phone, and that time there was a lot of concern about his security. So, he said, don’t you people worry. The Maoists are not a threat to me. In fact some of them are here with me,” said Lakshmikanth Das, an officer bearer of the HJM.

But do these factors clearly rule out the role of the Maoists? It is tricky, say many experts who have been following left wing extremism. “The best way this could be phrased is: ‘We do not rule out the involvement of the Maoists’.” Sahu said.

There are many reasons why the experts are undecided. “After the December 2007 clashes, even the Hindu outfits agreed that the Maoists are working in tandem with militant Christian outfits,”

Sahu agreed: “A lot of Maoists were converts to Christianity and were involved in the December violence. But this attack does not look like their work,” Sahu said.

The Maoists have long claimed that most of Orissa falls under the ‘liberated zone’. Kandhamal district with its desnse forest cover is a haven for them. In fact, the police had claimed that the recent attack on a police party in Nayagarh, where the Maoists dealt a spectacular blow to the Orissa police, was planned and coordinated from Kandhamal.

If not the Maoists, who could have killed the Swami? The needle of suspicion swings towards the militant Christian outfits. “Let’s face it, said Sahu, “even in times when the Maoist-militant Christian nexus was a possibility, there were numerous attacks and attempts on the Swami’s life.”

“There is a high possibility that this is the handiwork of militant Christian outfits. How they got such sophisticated weapons is something for the government to figure out,” said Sahu.

“The government’s responsibility to bring those responsible to book increases when you take into account the fact that the Swami received an anonymous threat only a week before he was killed. The local SP did not even register a case after the Swami lodged a formal complaint. They have to answer a lot of questions or this issue will snowball into a bigger issue than the December violence,” Das concluded.

The onus now rests on the government, which has been boxed in from almost all sides.

It has been shown up with regards to tackling Maoists, with consecutive attacks. It’s inadequacy in putting a lid on communal tension in Kandhamal have been exposed by the on-going violence in the district. And with elections looming, how it tackles the current crisis will go a long way in deciding its political future.





UP constitutes special task force to tackle Naxal menace

31 07 2008

Source: Express India
Lucknow, March 20
In the wake of seven more districts of the state coming under the Naxal influence, the government has now constituted a separate Special Task Force (Extremists) to tackle the Maoist problem. Sources said that a DIG-rank officer would head the new force.

The government’s move comes just after the conclusion of a meeting of the Naxal Task Force (NTF) in Lucknow this week. Earlier, only three districts of Sonebhadra, Mirzapur and Chandauli were supposed to have a considerable number of Naxals but the recent reports of the central agencies point to the presence of presence of Naxals in other seven districts of the state, including Allahabad, Chitrakoot, Deoriya, Banda and Ballia.

“The problem of the Left wing extremism is in Allahabad and Chitrakoot districts as the Naxals have almost completed their preliminary stage of growth and have now established their own units,” a source said. The knowledge about the spread of Naxals to new districts of the state came after some Maoists were arrested from different parts of the state. “During their interrogation, they said about their attempt to make inroads in the remote areas of the state.

“The Bundelkhand region comprising Chitrakoot, Banda, and Mahoba have been Naxal target for long. They also want to spread it to Jhansi,” he said.

The officials believe that Naxals have made inroads in the state through the bordering Naxal-affected districts of Bihar. “Ballia district shares border with the Bihar’s Buxar district, which figured in the list of Bihar’s Naxal-affected part. Moreover, Bhabhua and Rohtas districts border Ballia,” the source. Presence of Naxals in Allahabad is not surprising as Shankargarh is notorious for explosive supply to anti-socials.





UP constitutes special task force to tackle Naxal menace

31 07 2008

Source: Express India
Lucknow, March 20
In the wake of seven more districts of the state coming under the Naxal influence, the government has now constituted a separate Special Task Force (Extremists) to tackle the Maoist problem. Sources said that a DIG-rank officer would head the new force.

The government’s move comes just after the conclusion of a meeting of the Naxal Task Force (NTF) in Lucknow this week. Earlier, only three districts of Sonebhadra, Mirzapur and Chandauli were supposed to have a considerable number of Naxals but the recent reports of the central agencies point to the presence of presence of Naxals in other seven districts of the state, including Allahabad, Chitrakoot, Deoriya, Banda and Ballia.

“The problem of the Left wing extremism is in Allahabad and Chitrakoot districts as the Naxals have almost completed their preliminary stage of growth and have now established their own units,” a source said. The knowledge about the spread of Naxals to new districts of the state came after some Maoists were arrested from different parts of the state. “During their interrogation, they said about their attempt to make inroads in the remote areas of the state.

“The Bundelkhand region comprising Chitrakoot, Banda, and Mahoba have been Naxal target for long. They also want to spread it to Jhansi,” he said.

The officials believe that Naxals have made inroads in the state through the bordering Naxal-affected districts of Bihar. “Ballia district shares border with the Bihar’s Buxar district, which figured in the list of Bihar’s Naxal-affected part. Moreover, Bhabhua and Rohtas districts border Ballia,” the source. Presence of Naxals in Allahabad is not surprising as Shankargarh is notorious for explosive supply to anti-socials.





Melsunka: A haven for Naxals

31 07 2008

source: New Indian Express
Tuesday November 27 2007 08:41 IST

Manjunath Hegde

SHIMOGA: Melsunka village in Hosnagar taluk has neither road connectivity nor power supply, but people still stay here as KPCL paid them compensation in instalments after the village became a restricted area in the backwater of Mani Dam of Varahi Power Project.

Away from the civilian world, lack of facilities and impenetrable rainforests have made this village an ideal hub for Naxalites. It is feared that the youth here are slowly turning towards Naxal ideology.

Melsunka village of Sulgodu GP in Hosnagar taluk has 87 families and they have to walk 18 kms to Yadur to buy something.

They are cut off from the outer world. The only entry to the area is through Mani Dam, with permission from KPCL.Villagers of Kumribailu, Ultiga and Melsunka depend on forest products like bamboo and a few are engaged in agriculture.

After the entry of Naxalites, villagers say that the Forest Department personnel have stopped harassing them. A village without any civic amenities, Melsunka has become a favourite hide-out for the Naxalites. Whenever there is a fight between the policemen and the Naxalites in Amasebailu area of Udupi district, it is said that the Naxals rush to Melsunka region which is just a one-hour walk away through the ghat section. Whenever the police head for the village, Naxals disappear into the forests.

It may be recalled that a pamphlet was recovered from a camp deserted by Naxalites near Amasebailu, which showed that they had plans to blast Mani Dam, which is very near to Melsunka.

However, Hosnagar CIP SK Prahlada said no untoward incidents were reported from the area so far. Residents of this hamlet do not say a word either against policemen or favouring Naxalites. Alarmingly, a couple of Naxalites including Parvati, who was killed in Idu encounter, were from this village. Police say that the Naxal team wandering in the surroundings of Melsunka is ‘Varahi Dalam’, and they often visit Melsunka whenever they need grain and vegetables.

Interestingly, the village which had roads and electricity 30 years ago, has nothing but backwater and forests everywhere today. The youth here get offers from Naxals to join their group.





Why do Naxals hate NGOs? A case study of Bihar

31 07 2008

Monday, 02.04.2008, 01:20am (GMT-7)
Source: India post

Naxalism is a grave problem in Bihar. According to a March 2007 document of the Bihar Police, 30 of its 38 districts have been affected by Maoist activities. Maoist violence is endemic across the state’s territory. The fight against the state by the Naxalites is explicable.

But, why do they hate the NGOs? The ground reality provides many reasons for this hatred. First, the power of the Naxal outfits is the people, the masses. They fight for the downtrodden, the poorest of the poor, the lowest castes.

For instance, the Naxals fight against the state to bring social justice to the Dalits. At the same time, the NGOs also work for the betterment of the downtrodden and poorer sections of society. Thus begins the rivalry for custodianship between the two.

There are, however, fundamental differences in attitudes and approaches between them. The NGOs work at the grassroots and associate themselves with the masses. They seek to empower the Dalits through non-violent methods.

They inform the people about existing government schemes for the poor and often influence government officials to being proactive and helping the downtrodden. Through the Right to Information, many Dalits claim their rights to shape their future. These initiatives by the NGOs delink the Naxal outfits from the masses.

There are many such examples. The Musahar community is one of the most marginalized in Bihar that faces exploitation and discrimination. There are many NGOs working for their betterment in Bihar, but a number of them have received threatening calls to shut down their projects or face the consequences. A school run by an NGO was shut down in Gaya district, for example.

Children, who studied in the school, probably know nothing about the Naxalite movement, except that their school has been closed now because of the Naxals’ frequent demands for money. Second, the extortion money collected from government officials is immense.

There are many developmental projects for the poorer sections of society and the Naxalites claim their share in almost all these schemes. These projects are convenient and easy prey for the Naxals to establish a channel for sharing this booty. Their collection programs target forest contractors, businesspersons, civil contractors, villagers and government officials, including the police, in some areas.

The developmental activities run by the NGOs do not share the booty with the Naxals. The Naxals cannot directly demand a share from the NGOs, nor can they directly threaten them, as this would expose their pretensions to provide social justice.

The NGOs, therefore, become a consistent irritant for the Naxals. Third, there are many cases where school-going children have been picked up by Naxal outfits from the Dalit community. They advocate that education will not bring any change in their future lives, but that the bullet can restore their lost social status. Therefore, these children turn out to become hard-core Naxalites.

Fourth, since the Naxal outfits are unable to fight the NGOs directly, they have started their own registered organizations. There is speculation that a number of NGOs in Bihar are funding the training of Maoist guerrillas.

The writer is PGT, Teacher Koilwar, Bhojpur, Bihar





Naxals news

31 07 2008

For more news on Naxals

Source: Indian Express
Full Coverage > Taking on Naxals

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28 Feb 2008

How do you win back 11 villages from Naxal control? Check with these 75 policemen

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27 Feb 2008

If Naxals can have special squads, why can’t we, ask cops

Naxals frustrate Jharkhand cops by fleeing to adjoining states

26 Feb 2008

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With barely a dozen cases being registered every year at the local police station…

25 Feb 2008

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Each day, when Sub Inspector R L Thakur gazes at the setting sun falling behind the hills facing his police station, he shivers.

24 Feb 2008

Fighting a war with two mobikes, one phone and no drinking water

A tiny room, one light bulb, a table and a chair, an AK-47 hanging from a nail on the wall, a cot in one corner with four bamboo sticks…

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